4 resolutions to save money & change spending habits
Remember how crap and disappointing the majority of "post-Christmas sales" were last year? Funny how we complain about it, but I will be first to admit that I was one of the people rushing from store to store like an insane idiot, stocking up on illogical items with a yellow or red sticker, even if I didn't need it.
Just last week, I walked around PC World with a shopping cart full of items: a WD 1TB HD for under £70, a 17" laptop bag for £19, and a JVC digital camcorder for £150. And here's the irony. I already have a 17" laptop bag, 3 external HDDs, and my digital camera can do video.
So there I was, standing in a long queue waiting to check out, when I did something I've never done before. I got out of the queue, left my shopping cart, and walked out of the store empty handed. And actually felt a sense of relief.
I would say that's one of the biggest lessons I learned in '08; that wanting to have something just because it's a good deal doesn't mean I really need it. So this year, I plan to implement four "resolutions" starting now:
1. Sticking to a £100/day rule: Earlier this year, a mentor of mine suggested a money saving habit to implement. It was to never spend over £100 for purchases in a single day. Obviously this would vary depending on your normal budget. It could be £10 or £1000, but the basic idea was to find a simple number and stick to it. So for example, say I'm planning to make a £500 purchase, no matter how 'urgent', to spend 5 days deciding whether it was a logical or emotional decision.
2. Buy only what I need: Easier said that done, especially for us HUKD addicts. This year, I've already bought a new HDTV, an HD-DVD player, 2 laptops, an iphone and a 3 dongle with a 12 month subscription. I got most of these things at a bargain, compared to the high street prices. But do I really need all these things to be happy? I suppose that's the question. So for 2009, I am going to ensure that everything I purchase has PURPOSE, FUNCTION and VALUE, and not because it's been reduced by 90%. Everything else must go!
3. Use what you buy: My dad has worn the same watch he's had for the last 25 years. He once explained that for every day he wears the watch, it works out cheaper for him to have bought it. On the other hand, I have an HD-DVD player that I barely use (just sold it though thankfully), a gaming laptop with an awesome graphics card that I never play games on, and a 3 dongle that I use once every fortnight only to find it impossible to connect to 80% of the time. In 2009, I'm hoping to stick to only the core things I use, and judge what's valuable by how much productivity and value it generates in my life. Of course, we all enjoy having some luxury in life, so this is easier said than done.
4. Purge: One of my mental blocks is always to sell something instead of just giving it away. And since a lot of old stuff I have just sits here in the basement collecting dust, I don't take into account the time it will take to sell / post a £5 item, nor the energy drain it has on me to define myself around these objects and material. In 2009, I'm going through all my inventory and putting all the crap I no longer need or use in bin bags to take to a local charity shop.
If you have new year resolutions regarding your spending habits and tips on saving money and getting rid of old things, please share them in the comments below.